It’s 1888 and Mister Ewart Percy is a wool classer, working out of a wool shed at 139 Murray Street in Pyrmont at time when the ports of Sydney were bursting with trade. He’s carves his name into the window ledge where he is working. Fast forward 130 years and Mister Percy is making his mark again. That window ledge is still there in hotel room 413 and his name is up in lights, as Ovolo names their newest, most glamorous European Wine bar after the cheeky rascal who’s history is etched in this design hotel.
There are so many A listers behind this wine bar which does food so well perhaps we should call it a restaurant? Justin North collaborated with Head Chef Luca Guiotto (ex Catalina, La Tavola), award winning interior designers Luchetti Krelle and group wine curator Shun Eto create a crack team. The space is reborn; gone are the sofas and traditional reception. It’s replaced by grey batwing chairs, tea lights, miniature palms, antique wood buffets, walls of wine, high marble tables and sexy mural by local artist Oliver Watts. It’s deliciously inviting before you even eat.
Pinchos were invented in Northern Spain as a snack to compliment wine drinking – and so began the tradition of ‘something interesting’ on bread kept in place with a cocktail stick. Try the crushed broad bean, with two nano slices of bocconcini and a deep fried sage leaf; a La Boqueria chorizo skewered with crispy octopus or a generous hunk of manchego cheese with prosciutto. The ‘Shares’ get interesting with Vannella burrata presiding over oh so sweet baby carrots , pea tendrils, swords of fried potato skins with an oregano dressing. Slices of citrus cured Hiramasa Kingfish with compressed water melon languish on horseradish yoghurt are architecturally hidden by a canopy of of carasau toast. Bigger shares of charred spatchcock is a beauty with a creamy cauliflower and almond dressing, we give up on forks and tuck in with hands! Cone Bay barramundi is lusciously rich with crackling-like skin and Tuscan kale.
The wine list is an exciting European day trip, spanning skin macerated drops like La Violetta to unknown Spanish varietals like Ondarrabi Zubi or Mencia with a few locals such as Babo, an Adelaide winery sourcing Chianti grapes from Italy. The wine philosophy is drinking ‘Quartino’ (Italian word for ¼ litre), when one glass isn’t enough, but good to share!
No doubt Mister Percy had a few beverages after a hard days toil in these woolsheds. As you enjoy great tucker and share bread (and wine) with those you care about, the centuries haven’t changed us so much. It’s a beautiful space to connect to friends past and present.
Keen to linger? Check out our hotel review here.
139 Murray Street, Pyrmont
Mon – Sat, 5 – 11pm (kitchen closes at 10pm)
Sun 5 – 10pm (kitchen closes at 9pm)